Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology say that the immunity of recovered patients would help slow the spread of the contagion. Reintroducing recovered COVID-19 patients would, in theory, help reduce the rate of transmission of the coronavirus.
This is known as the “shield immunity” strategy.
Shield immunity is a different concept from collective immunity and is designed to reduce the interactions that would transmit the virus.
This approach could be used in conjunction with existing precautions, such as social isolation, contact tracing and self-isolation.
People who caught COVID-19 and recovered from the disease may soon join the general public
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers say immunity of recovered patients may help slow spread of contagion
Immunized people could play a key role in helping society return to normalcy while helping to fight the pandemic, scientists say.
However, the study is only valid if the people recovered are absolutely negative for the virus.
This would mean that they produce antibodies to defend them against the coronavirus and are able to interact safely with susceptible and infectious people.
However, scientists cannot yet prove it.
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Shield immunity is designed to reduce the interactions that would transmit the virus
The Shield immunity approach is also based on immunity that lasts for more than a year.
It also requires that 100% accurate antibody test kits are available to everyone.
Currently, scientists cannot guarantee any of these things.
The study tested “shield immunity” on a model population of ten million people under two scenarios.
One was a scenario with a high transmission rate (R0 = 2.33) and the other with a low transmission rate (R0 = 1.57).
Shield immunity could be used in conjunction with existing precautions, such as social isolation, contact tracing and self-isolation
Immunized individuals could play a key role in helping society return to normal
According to the study, two forms of shielding have been tested, intermediate and advanced.
In the high transmission scenario, 71,000 deaths were predicted if the R0 was not changed.
However, that number fell to 58,000 and 20,000 deaths under intermediate and advanced armor, respectively.
Many fear that those who have had a coronavirus may not have immunity, as there is still research to be done on the duration of immunity.
The importance of social isolation
However, coronavirus is unlikely to re-infect people, experts say.
Research suggests that those who continue to be positive for the virus simply expel dead cells, experts have revealed.
There have been many cases of people still testing positive for the coronavirus after apparently recovering.
In South Korea, there are more than 100 incidents of people testing negative for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), having already tested positive, before being positive several weeks later.
The shield immunity approach also relies on immunity that lasts for more than a year
This raises fears that people will be re-infected with the virus.
However, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) believe that it is unlikely that people will be able to be re-infected so soon after contracting the disease, but long-term data on re-infections are not available for obvious reasons.
A WHO spokesperson said, “We are aware that some patients are positive after recovering clinically. From what we currently know – and this is based on very recent data – it appears that these patients are expelling the remains of material from their lungs as part of the recovery phase.
“We also need to understand if that means they can spread the virus to other people – having a live virus doesn’t necessarily mean that it can be passed to another person. “